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My Take on the Best Smartphones of 2017

The year 2017 is almost over now. I was just thinking at the number of devices I was playing around this year and thought to list out my experiences and feedback with smartphones this year. Without much ado, here we go!

Let me start with my most favourite topic, Camera.

Google Pixel had a great camera; probably the best this year. Google made people understand that, its not always the hardware but software that can make great difference to the picture. Without a dual camera setup, Google was able to achieve great portraits with its AI based algorithms. However, things weren’t all that green with the Pixel. Along with the LED screen issues. I also heard about the performance flaws on the Pixel 2 XL. Hopefully, Google can fix it via a software update. According to me, the Pixel 2 was a better bet than the Pixel 2 XL in terms of performance and hardware. I really wished Google had chopped these bezels and made just one Pixel 2 this year. Would’ve made life so simple. Pixel was a great camera for Pictures, especially portraits.

The most practical flagship for me was the Apple iPhone 8 Plus. Looked very similar to the earlier iPhones, nothing great on design; bur still performed the best when compared to other Android flagships and iPhones. The A11 Bionic was slick. The 8 Plus stood slightly lower in terms of the camera when compared to the iPhone X. However, when you consider the price and the extra ‘plus’ features, it won it over. The iPhone X is a great phone, but definitely not worth a lac. The iPhones this year has the best cameras for videos, especially the slo-mos.

The Samsung Note 8 is a clear winner; probably the best smartphone of this year. Its amazing on how this company pulled off especially after that debacle of the Samsung Note 7. Great optics, IP68, Stylus and most importantly, less forked android made this a winner. Samsung Pay was great for the company this year. Probably, the 3rd most thing I used on the Samsung phone after camera and screen.

Out of all the devices I tried this year, one device that caught my attention was the MiA1 from Xiaomi. This device was so totally off the Xiaomi strategy. With Mi A1, the company offered stock android along with their nifty add-ons to make this device a worthy re-entry to the Android One segment in the country. Well, as much as I wanted the stock android experience, using it on a Xiaomi device felt totally different. MIUI has been the most important component to Mi Phones that makes it stand out from its competition regardless of the segments the devices belong. Sometimes this also made me wonder if Xiaomi is a software company or a hardware one. The MiA1 had Great Optics and was a good all around performer in the segment.

Introducing Mi Mix 2 in India was a brave attempt from Xiaomi India. I honestly wished they do well in this segment because that would open up more opportunities for the company to introduce flagships in India close to the global launch dates. Further, it also opens up the segment for them.

While the Redmi phones were the clear winners in the budget segment, it was nice to see brands like 10.or (Brand name owned by Amazon) and Comio play in the segment with interesting devices up their sleeve. While 10.or brought in stock feel android phones in this segment, Comio was pretty aggressive with their focused marketing. Hope we will see more in the coming days from them.

It was Impressive to see Huawei India introduce some great models this year. The Honor brand phones were aggressive and one has to appreciate their strategies to bring devices quick to India. They were audible all through the year and brave in pitching through various channels. Probably only brand that leveraged not just tech bloggers to reach more people. I really wished we saw the Huawei P10 or the Mate series in India. Leica is love.

The LG V30 is a great phone. The DAC on the phone is worth a mention.Wonder why it doesn’t get a worthy mention whenever someone wants to recommend a flagship to friend or foe; maybe, its because of the software and lack of its optimisation. Also, the price game that LG plays every time – Launch at a price, reduce it in a week, reduce it even further in few weeks.. the cycle just goes on.

Well, OnePlus was the winner in affordable tech. Not once, but twice this year. Both the OnePlus 5 and OnePlus 5T were brilliant phones. Great optics, good screen and decent software. They have almost become a brand everyone recommends. Flagship Killer? well may not be. I don’t think, even they claim that title anymore. So lets spare this topic going forward. The OnePlus5T was probably my Best All around phone in India. I’m still amazed at how blazing fast the Face Unlock worked. Of-course, worth mentioning that it is a convenience feature and not a security one.

Summing up, this was just my experience with these devices and I hope, we see even better smartphones coming up next year. Till then, wish you a very happy new year. Do let me know your thoughts and comments.

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News

Pre-orders for Samsung S7 and S7 Edge begins in India today!

Samsung today announced the availability of the newest additions to the Galaxy family of products, Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge in India. The devices are priced at INR 48900 and INR 56,900 respectively. The phone goes on sale 17th midnight, and will be available for pre-order starting today. Both the phones are available in Black Onyx, Gold Platinum and Silver Titanium colours. Customers will get a free Gear VR when you pre-order.

Its impressive to see, Samsung bringing in these devices to the Indian market this early, considering they were announced just few weeks back at MWC 2016. Last week, even the super fast external SSDs were announced in India.

The 5.1-inch Galaxy S7 and 5.5-inch Galaxy S7 edge are constructed with 3D glass and metal – all in a sleek design with durability and ergonomic curves for a comfortable grip. Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge deliver fast wired and wireless charging technology. Additionally, the hybrid SIM card tray allows users to insert a microSD card for up to 200GB of additional storage and in some select countries, the tray can be used with a dual SIM card. Galaxy S7 and S7 edge come with 3000mAh & 3600mAh batteries, respectively. Looks like, we are seeing the Exynos variant of the Galaxy phones in sale for India. Forbes published an article yesterday explaining on the difference between these processors and how much of an impact it makes.

Samsung-S7

With IP68 water and dust resistance, Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge come with increased utility without compromising on the design. The devices can sustain up to 30 minutes submerged in a meter and a half of water.

Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge introduce the first Dual Pixel camera on a smartphone, delivering brighter and sharper images, even in low light. The camera has a faster shutter speed and a more accurate autofocus even in low-light conditions. Motion Panorama, a new camera mode, brings movement to traditional panoramic photos, giving the user a completely immersive visual experience.

The edge screen on the Galaxy S7 edge is now even more powerful and convenient, with quick access to Applications and content. The new ‘Always on Display’ feature allows users to easily check for updates, without having to worry about unlocking the phone.

Samsung R&D in India played a significant role in the development of the new devices, with many engineers involved in the expansion of the My Galaxy platform to cater to the needs of premium users in India with Samsung Concierge. The unique consumer engagement platform has been customized to offer valuable services such as My Assistant, Phone pick up and drop, Fast Track service and Live Chat.

The Indian R&D team also contributed to developing the Motion Panorama feature that will enable consumers to capture live events in great detail by capturing every piece of dynamic motion. Additionally, the Spotlight Selfie feature that provides consumers a studio-like environment with virtual light source, was developed in India.

Other features like Game Mode Power/Memory Saving Solutions, Enhanced Internet Browser, Voice over LTE, Enhanced Messaging, In-Car experience, Voice Interface, Gallery and Gear Manager have significant contribution by Indian R&D.

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Meet Samsung T3, An external SSD which is incredibly fast

Samsung today announced the launch of Samsung Portable SSD T3, a premium, palm-sized, external solid state drive (SSD) that offers multi-terabyte (TB) storage capacity. Equipped with Samsung’s proprietary Vertical NAND (V-NAND) and SSD TurboWrite technology, the T3 drive provides advanced performance, enabling consumers, content creators, business and IT professionals, to quickly and easily store and transfer large multimedia content across a variety of devices.

The new Portable SSD T3 will go on sale from 21st March, 2016 at a price of INR 10,999 for 250GB, INR 18,999 for 500GB, INR 37,999 for 1TB and INR 74,999 for 2TB. Each unit of the Portable SSD T3 comes with a 3 year warranty, and is available in 250 GB, 500 GB, 1TB and 2TB capacities. The device will be available at retail stores as well as leading online stores, including Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal.

The benefit of the new Portable SSD T3 is the blazing-fast read/write speeds that facilitate quick transfer of data. The drive comes with sequential read/write speeds of up to 450 megabytes per second (MB/s) with a USB 3.0 super speed interface – up to 4X faster than external HDDs. It gives high flexibility to users owing to its compatibility with laptops, desktops, TVs and android devices. Thanks to its AES-256 bit hardware encryption, it is a preferred choice for transferring sensitive files. With this, users can easily manage their password settings on the move. The Portable SSD T3 has extremely fast read/write speeds, enabling users to plug in and quickly grab their work to present to prospective clients or partners.

With its intuitive user interface, the Samsung Portable SSD T3 is easy to set up and protect. With just one user-set password, the drive is safe from unwanted access, thanks to AES 256-bit hardware encryption. With no moving parts, the drive is designed for portability; it can withstand bumps and drops and users do not need to worry about the wear and tear of moving parts that can result in lost or corrupted data. It has a metal body with a shock resistant internal frame. It is shock resistant up to 1,500G and resistant up to 2 meter drop test. It has a thermal guard, which efficiently manages workload to prevent overheating. The drive is highly secure with its AES 256-bit hardware encryption and users can secure data from unwanted access by installing password security enabling software.

The T3 is compatible with a wide range of USB supported devices, including the latest Android smartphones and tablets, and computers with Windows or Mac OS. Users can send data from the T3 to a PC and vice versa, access content on the T3 through mobile devices, and view the drive’s multimedia content on large-screen devices such as TVs. T3 uses exFAT, a widely adopted file system, as its default file recognition format to create a seamless user experience. T3 also works with a brand-new complementary Samsung Portable SSD Android mobile app, which supports password changes and remaining capacity checks.

The drive has a simple set-up process for users, with one user-set password. The drive is equipped with AES 256-bit hardware encryption for the high level of security and protection across Windows, Mac and Android OS based devices. Even if the drive should fall into the wrong hands, the data stored on it would be inaccessible.

SSDs can increase the performance on Disk IO which helps in getting better gaming experience. On Phones, Thanks to the impressive web browser it is also easy for gamers to enjoy things like online casino sites right from their phone without having to download additional software. Many of these companies have websites built specifically for mobile users and so gamers can play their favourite card games at ease – head over to top5onlinecasino.ca to know more.

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News

Blackberry brings in a high-security tablet based on Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5

Secusmart, a BlackBerry company, is presenting with IBM at CeBIT 2015, the SecuTABLET, a high-security tablet based on the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5. With the new secure tablet for national and international public sector markets and enterprises, data that is subject to special security requirements can be used on the move. Personal applications or those that are not additionally secured, such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and WhatsApp, can also be used.

The solution is undergoing certification at the German Federal Office for Information Security for the German VS-NfD (classified – for official use only) security rating.

The SecuTABLET is a new, secure tablet that supplements the SecuSUITE for BlackBerry 10 portfolio and can be seamlessly integrated into existing SecuSUITE infrastructures.

“Security is ingrained in every part of BlackBerry’s portfolio, which includes voice and data encryption solutions,” said Dr. Hans-Christoph Quelle, CEO of Secusmart GmbH, a BlackBerry company. “National and international government customers have entrusted their voice and data communications with the Secusmart Security Card for years. This same technology is what secures the new SecuTABLET. Working alongside IBM and Samsung, we have added the last link in the chain of the Federal Security Network. Subject to certification of the SecuTABLET, German government agencies will have a new way to access to BlackBerry’s most secure and complete communications network in the world.”

The IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) study on Mobility Impact notes that 63 percent of public sector respondents would appreciate mobile access to their specialized applications like budget and controlling. These data are subject to special security requirements. Access via conventional mobile devices is ruled out.

“The SecuTABLET closes a supply gap and opens up for government and administrations an opportunity to derive greater benefit from digitization and the mobile Internet, with system integration as a fundamental success factor,” said Stefan Hefter, Senior Management Consultant with IBM. “We have contributed our longstanding expertise as a system integrator for mobile solutions. The technology used to make mobile apps secure by means of so-called wrapping has already proven its worth in the United States.”

IBM has provided the secure app wrapping technology for the SecuTABLET, and assists in implementing the high security solutions by Secusmart within the infrastructures of the various clients inside the governmental sector.

As a BlackBerry company, Secusmart enhances the company’s commitment to remaining the leading provider in enterprise mobile security. BlackBerry is the only mobile device management (MDM) vendor that has achieved the “Full Operational Capability” level of certification for operation on U.S. Department of Defense Networks. Furthermore, BlackBerry 10 smartphones were the first to be approved by NATO for classified communications up to “Restricted” level.

Source: Press Note

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News

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 to be available beginning September 26th

Galaxy Note 4 will be available beginning September 26th in Korea. Outside of Korea, Galaxy Note 4 will be available in 140 countries by the end of October.

Since its first introduction in Berlin earlier this month, it has gained a lot of interest across the world. The 5.7-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED display offers a best-in-class viewing experience with the finest and richest of colors. Also with a high brightness and low reflectiveness, users can enjoy videos and texts much clearer even under the sun. Multi Window became even better on Galaxy Note 4, helping users take full advantage of the large 5.7-inch screen. For easier and better multi-tasking, you can choose how to access applications with full, split or pop-up screens. By dragging down from the top corner of a running application, you can switch the running app to a pop-up the size of your choice. You can also easily change the size and positioning of apps on the screen with one intuitive swipe.

Samsung-note-4Galaxy Note 4 features the ‘Fast Charging’ feature, which charges the battery from 0% to 50% in about 30 minutes, and ‘Ultra Power Saving Mode’ that extends the usage time by activating only the essential functions. The phone also comes With a 32GB of internal storage, 3GB of RAM, and running Android KitKat (4.4.4).

Galaxy Note 4 is also equipped with a 16 megapixel rear-facing camera featuring a Smart Optical Image Stabilizer that counter-balances camera shake and automatically extends exposure time in dark settings. In addition, a 3.7 megapixel front-facing camera with f1.9 offers a default 90 degree shooting angle and up to 120 degree wide angle so users can take the best ‘wide selfies’ with more people in the frame. The Galaxy Note 4’s metal frame offers extra protection while the 2.5D glass screen perfectly complements the device’s rich viewing experience. A soft-textured back cover provides incredible comfort that makes it easy to control with one hand.

The Galaxy Note 4 comes equipped with multiple microphones and an improved speaker phone for better noise cancellation when speaking in loud environments. A built-in Voice Recorder offers eight different directional voice tagging and a selective playback capability that allows users to isolate and listen to specific voices in a group conversation.

​The Galaxy Note 4 also provides users with a choice of multiple, seamless note-taking methods integrated with Samsung’s S Note application that allows everyday tasks to get done faster and more easily. In addition to typing and writing, the innovative Photo note feature allows users to take a picture of their notes on a paper or a classroom board, and then quickly and easily convert to the S Note. They can also further unleash their creativity by jotting down their thoughts quickly with the Voice Memo.

For detailed specifications and features, have a look at this chart

In the US, The Galaxy Note 4 is already available to preorder through AT&T, Verizon and starting today T-Mobile. Verizon will begin accepting preorders on September 26. We should we seeing it in more countries by end of October. The Galaxy Note 4, will be available in “Charcoal Black,” “Frost White,” “Bronze Gold,” and “Blossom Pink”.